EU reacts to violence, intimidation in Kogi, Bayelsa elections

The reports of widespread incidents of violence and voter intimidation in Bayelsa and Kogi states have been strongly condemned by the European Union.

A statement by the Diplomatic Watch also expressed concern at the disturbing reports of fatalities and missing people, urging stakeholders to call for calm.

The Diplomatic Watch deployed teams from Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States to monitor both state elections on November 16.

“We express our alarm at reports of widespread incidents of violence and intimidation, some of which were witnessed by our teams in Kogi. There are reports of fatalities and people missing, including INEC staff. Our thoughts are with all victims and their families.

“We encourage all stakeholders, in particular, political leaders, to call for calm and we encourage security agencies to investigate thoroughly and bring perpetrators to justice.

“We are also concerned by evident vote-buying and credible reports of ballot box snatching in both Bayelsa and Kogi.”

The EU commended the commitment of voters in both states who came out to vote and asked that those enshrined with the mandate to see through a smooth democratic process should continue to act in all capacity.

“We commend the commitment and resilience of voters in both states who came out to exercise their democratic rights. We express our sympathy for those affected by the violence, including ordinary voters; INEC officials; members of the NYSC; civil society; and the media. All should be able to carry out their fundamental role in the democratic process free from intimidation and harassment.”